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Some Short Barrel .45 ACP Velocities...

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Stephen A. Camp, Sep 20, 2004.

  1. Stephen A. Camp

    Stephen A. Camp Moderator In Memoriam

    Hello. As part of a project I'm doing, I recently borrowed a Colt Defender, a compact variation of John Browning's 1911. Several different commercial loads were chronographed to see just how much velocity these short barrel pistols lost.

    The gun's owner replaced the factory grips and installed/fitted Swenson ambis as he's left-handed.

    I had a ballpark idea but had never checked any of these over a chronograph as I don't own any 1911 pattern pistol with shorter than a 4 1/4" barrel.

    That does not mean that other folks don't and I figured the results might be of some interest to them. Figures are based on 10 shots fired approx. 10' from the chronograph screen.

    Remington 185-gr. MC-Flat Nose:
    Average Velocity: 923 ft/sec

    Federal 185-gr. Classic JHP:
    Average Velocity: 885 ft/sec

    Corbon 200-gr. JHP +P:
    Average Velocity: 958 ft/sec

    Sellier & Bellot 230-gr. FMJ:
    Average Velocity: 722 ft/sec

    Winchester USA 230-gr. FMJ:
    Average Velocity: 765 ft/sec

    Federal 230-gr. Hydrashok:
    Average Velocity: 799 ft/sec

    Winchester Ranger 230-gr. JHP:
    Average Velocity: 797 ft/sec

    Winchester Ranger 230-gr. JHP+P:
    Average Velocity: 866 ft/sec

    The Federal 185-gr. JHP (left) and the standard pressure Winchester Ranger SXT (RA45T) were fired into water and both expanded nicely. The Federal JHP's jacket separated. This is more common in water than in tissue. The SXT round expanded slightly less than when fired out of a 5" barrel. A police officer who attended a Ballistics Seminar
    put on by Winchester advises that they do recommend use of the +P version in pistols having less than 4" barrels to insure more certain expansion should the bullet pass through barriers before striking the target.

  2. Longbow

    Longbow Well-Known Member

    Thanks so much for sharing!
  3. Maddock

    Maddock Well-Known Member

    Thanks for all the effort. Very informative.
    Is the Remington 185-gr. MC-Flat Nose the mid-range loading? That doesn’t seem like a midrange velocity, but I couldn’t find any other load in their catalog that would seem to fit.
  4. Stephen A. Camp

    Stephen A. Camp Moderator In Memoriam

    Hello and thanks for the kind words. The 185-gr. Remington MC-Flat Nose is definitely not in the mid-range load area. I suspect it's about as hot as it can be w/o being classified as +P. From a 5" Kimber it averaged 1053 ft/sec.

  5. P95Carry

    P95Carry Moderator Emeritus

    As ever .... thx Steve for posting the info - every single bit of data is useful IMO ... from any source ... it all adds to our overall breadth of perception ... of different barrel lengths in different platforms. And, with various ammo types.

    I just released my write up of Test #3 of some more 9mm ammo thru R9 pocket pistol .... the test is Here and I have also updated my chrono data page too. I know you have done much 9mm work and so may be interested to take a peek if you wish.
  6. Stephen A. Camp

    Stephen A. Camp Moderator In Memoriam

    Hello and thanks. I'll sure take a look right now.

  7. Maddock

    Maddock Well-Known Member

    Thanks for clearing that up Steve, 923 fps out of that short barrel is certainly moving along.
  8. Flashpoint

    Flashpoint Well-Known Member

    Good stuff Stephen,

    How short is the barrel that you used to do the test?

    I was wondering because I've been drooling over a STI Ranger with a 4.75" barrel.
  9. Stephen A. Camp

    Stephen A. Camp Moderator In Memoriam

    Hello. The Defender bbl is approx. 3".

  10. halvey

    halvey Well-Known Member

    Good stuff here, thanks for posting.

    I like what I see with the 230 gr FMJ and the Corbon 200gr.
    What was the recoil like with the hotter stuff? I'd imagine out of the Defender it would be pretty stout, unless you put he old rubber grips back on.

    Hopefully I'll have some numbers to post in the next couple weeks on some loads I am working on for my Defender.
  11. Stephen A. Camp

    Stephen A. Camp Moderator In Memoriam

    Hello. Felt recoil is very subjective. None of the loads fired were "bad" to handle. That said, I felt a noticeable difference between standard and +P loads, but all were lighter than expected.

  12. 71Commander

    71Commander Well-Known Member

    Did you experience any feeding problems? extractions? I'm really interested in the reliabilitiy while using the 185 gr. coming out at or near 1,000 fps. That's moving out of a 3".:what:
  13. wally

    wally Well-Known Member

    Got the numbers for these loads from 4" and 5" guns?

    I'm a believer in the heaviest bullet weight for the caliber, especially in short barreled guns as it seem they lose proportionally less velocity than do the lighter rounds so should penetrate better since penetration (all other things being equal) is proportional to sectional density X velocity (expansion reduces sectional density).

  14. Stephen A. Camp

    Stephen A. Camp Moderator In Memoriam

    Hello. Feeding and ejection were 100%.

  15. Hal

    Hal Well-Known Member

    That's a real surprise. I'd have never guessed in a million years that S&B ball would clock that slow. It seems so,,,"snappy" out of my Commander and my full sized Kimbers.

    OTOH, it sure makes me look @ my *wimpy* .45 LC "cowboy" loads @ ~ 750 fps is a totaly different light. ;)

    Steve, thanks for an eye opener. My normal go-to loads (factory) are the 230 gr Winchester USA "Q" load & the Federal 230 gr Hydrashok. I'd been throwing around the idea of getting a short barreled .45acp now that we finally have CCW here in Ohio. Also, I've been looking at other loads besides the Hydrashok. That Winchester Ranger 230 gr standard pressure load looks pretty good on paper.
  16. Stephen A. Camp

    Stephen A. Camp Moderator In Memoriam

    Hello. Glad the post was of interest. S&B clocks slower in all of the bbl lengths I've tried it in.

  17. George Hill

    George Hill Well-Known Member

    Here are some more numbers regarding .45's from a short tube:
    (hope this helps someone)

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